In recognition of the service of elderly people to their community and to their church, Her Majesty The Queen presents special ‘Maundy money’ to local pensioners in a different UK cathedral or abbey every year at Easter. Since the 15th century, the number of Maundy coins handed out, and the number of people receiving the coins, has been related to the Sovereign’s age: This year, 87 women and 87 men will each receive 87 pence-worth of Maundy coins. Maundy coins still bear the same portrait of The Queen as the first coins issued in the year of Her Majesty’s coronation in 1953.
The Royal Maundy Service commemorates the ‘mandatum’ given by Christ to his disciples at the Last Supper, directing them to love one another. For 800 years, British Kings and Queens have marked the occasion with a symbolic gesture of humility by distributing gifts to the deserving.
The occasion is said to be one of the Queen’s favorite events on the Royal Calendar, and Her Majesty has distributed Maundy on all but four occasions since coming to the throne in 1952. This year’s Royal Maundy Service will take place at Blackburn Cathedral in Lancashire, England on Thursday 17 April 2014.
(photo copyright www.royal.gov.uk)